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The Piya (Chinese: 埤雅; pinyin: Píyǎ; Wade–Giles: P'i-ya; "Increased [Er]ya") was a Chinese dictionary compiled by Song Dynasty scholar Lu Dian (陸佃/陆佃, 1042-1102). He wrote this Erya supplement along with his Erya Xinyi (爾雅新義 "New Exegesis of the Erya") commentary. Although the Piya preface written by his son Lu Zai (陸宰/陆宰) is dated 1125, the dictionary was written earlier; Liu (1963:87) estimates around the Yuanfeng era (元豐, 1078–1085), and Joseph Needham (1986: 192) says around 1096.

Lu Dian arranged the Piya into 8 semantically based chapters that closely correspond with the last Erya chapters 13-19. The only exceptions are Chapter 5 ("Explaining Horses") that is contained in Erya 19 ("Explaining Domestic Animals") and Chapter 8 ("Explaining Heaven") that anomalously corresponds with the first part of the Erya.

Chapter Chinese Pinyin Translation Erya Chapter
1 釋魚 Shiyu Explaining Fishes 16
2 釋獸 Shishou Explaining Beasts 18
3 釋鳥 Shiniao Explaining Birds 17
4 釋蟲 Shichong Explaining Insects 15
5 釋馬 Shima Explaining Horses (19)
6 釋木 Shimu Explaining Trees 14
7 釋草 Shicao Explaining Plants 13
8 釋天 Shitian Explaining Heaven 8

The preface explains Lu's motives for defining flora and fauna terminology. Since Song officials changed the basis for the Imperial examination from mastering poetry to jingyi (經義/经义 "expounding on a classical quotation"), literati no longer studied the lyrical names for plants and animals.

See also[edit]


  • Liu Yeqiu 刘叶秋 (1963). Zhongguo gudai de zidian 中国古代的字典 [Dictionaries of Ancient China] . Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju. (in Chinese)
  • Needham, Joseph, Lu Gwei-djen, and Huang Hsing-Tsung (1986). Science and Civilisation in China, Volume 6 Biology and Biological Technology, Part 1 Botany. Cambridge University Press.

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